Review by Al0ne72
"The basic Zombie Survival game"
This game is designed to be a multiplayer game, but one of the modes allows you to play Single Player. The downside to playing Single Player is that your teammates are bots that do nothing but shoot at anything nearby. Regardless of their perfect aim, they do not participate in anything essential to the story. They only ever use the basic weapons, never melee, never explosives or help accomplish missions that require teamwork. The downside to playing online, is that there are a lot of quitters, even though players are able to join halfway through, it's rare to ever complete an entire episode without someone quitting. There's 4 difficulty settings on Left 4 Dead 2, Easy, Normal, Advanced, or Expert, and the differences between these are very substantial, with Expert being nearly impossible to accomplish, and Easy being nearly impossible to fail. Normally one wouldn't complain about this, but I found myself remaining comfortable on Advanced mode forever. The differences between difficulty settings, is the health of the zombies, how hard they hit you, and the quality of weapons you find at random. Although the game often has set-placements for good weapons, you'll find yourself with the old hunting rifle instead of the military sniper rifle if you increase your difficulty, for example.
Left 4 Dead 2 is a point-to-point, run-and-gun, first person shooter. Most zombie games are survival games, but after playing this the first time around, you'll soon realize that this is more of a zombie hunting game, since the zombies are too fast while they're in motion, to remain stationary and hold them off. The story is organized by Episodes, with multiple chapters within each episode, and no system of saving. The object of the entire game is simply make it from one place to another, which usually turns out to be just a race to the finish, but if you are on Single Player, this is hard to do since you'll ALWAYS be ahead of your group. If you play multiplayer, it's more of a "keep up" game while suffering from slower reactions to special zombies attacking you, since the bots can react immediately.
The engine is fair, it's very simple and basic, the crosshairs on your weapons are smooth and steady, and small. The weapon selection is decent, but again, your teammates won't use anything unique. It's somewhat unrealistic to constantly find electric pipe bombs all over the place, but the placement of items can be explained with environmental aspects and the simple fact that you're in the middle of a viral infection outbreak and the rest of the world is doing what you're doing too. The running is smooth, no realistic stepping, no recoil in the weapons, and the only thing you can do in the game is use your weapons - no climbing, opening doors that can easily be destroyed with your shotgun, only certain windows can be shattered, can't squeeze through gates with large gaps in the fences, can't go into 90% of the structures, etc. However, the system is reliable, in the sense that you'll never come across a shortcoming when it comes to shooting or aiming, as opposed to other games where your character can't turn around in time or can't simply push off the zombies, where you can in this game. As for possibilities, it balances itself out by being average and basic.
What gives this game it's 7 rating and not anything lower, is its constant excitement. There's rarely a dull moment, and unlike most zombie games, the zombies are actually realistic in the sense that they aren't bags of blood waiting to explode like Dead Rising/Island, and they don't stretch too far into alien science-fiction nonsense like Resident Evil does. The zombies in this game are known as the Infected, and your party consists of four very different people, just like it did in the first one. You have a black gym coach, a black teenage girl, a classy white guy in a white suit, and a redneck young adult. The party has a numerous variation of quotes they'll humor you with throughout your gameplay, along with the storyline dialog.
What made this game fun and exciting was not just the endless hoards of zombies that were thrown at you, but it was the environment itself. The zombies themselves are quite simple, they're your typical stupid ones that don't have the intellect to organize or react in any kind of way except for eating you, but they can sprint and climb, making the concept of elevation only a slight advantage. When first playing this, I was actually creeped out by some of the special zombies creeping around, one of them being the "Witch", a female zombie that reacts to your flashlight, and nearby-presence that constantly cries with such a chilling echo. This zombie can one-shot you if you startle it, emphasizing the suspense, while being creeped out by the weeping and dark environment. Not to mention the others that you always reacted to with caution, the Hunter, the Jockey, Boomer, Charger, and the difficult "Tank". I really loved how you got to explore places that weren't science-fiction, regardless of the zombie theme being science-fiction. You start off in a hotel, end up in places like malls, realistic streets, stores, cities, sewers, typical houses and apartments, and best of all, a carnival!
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 08/22/12
Game Release: Left 4 Dead 2 (US, 11/17/09)
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